Near-historic rise on Texas lake

Dec 16, 2003
Seattle, WA
My folks on Lake Cisco, 40ENE of Abilene, TX received more than seven inches of rain on Mon and Tuesday. The lake has risen more than six feet, while a normal summer of evaporation and little rain typically costs the lake 2-3 feet.

We have had a house on that lake since 1974 and no one can recall a time when the lake came up that much in a little under 24 hours, even another 7 inch rain back in 2002. Today it rose four feet in five hours. It is a little over 1000-acre lake and the water supply for the city (town) of Cisco.

USGS gage,00054

This shot is of the lake road:
Originally posted by Morgan Palmer
This shot is of the lake road:

I was just wondering why you posted a photo of a river instead of a lake... then I read that!
Wow, that's interesting Morgan. I'd be interested in hearing what the overall rise tops out at.

Since I've gotten more and more into kayaking I've become more interested in hydrology. It's amazing what even a small amount of rain adds to streams, rivers, and lakes when the dynamics of the watershed come into play.

Manhattan sits near the confluence of the Blue and Kansas Rivers. Seven miles outside of town the Blue runs into Tuttle Creek Reservoir. Back in 1993 a stationary front draped across much of the watershed, and other watersheds as well. Ultimately they had to release a great deal of water which caused major flooding around the Manhattan area. There's some great history to be studied with this event, and even more with the flood that occured in the 50's (53?)

Who'd have thought, a flood in TX given the current pattern :wink:


If it's the flooding that also struck Kansas City, it was 1951. You were pretty darn close. Here are a few links that talk about that floods effect on the KC metro area. The USGS site also has photos of Manhattan, Topeka and Lawrence.


That's a pretty incredible rise for a body of water that size. Has it been a wet summer prior to this rainfall? Would be intesting to find out the soil moisture to figure out why such a rise took place so rapidly.
After the flash floods of July 8, 2001 in southern West Virginia, R.D. Bailey Lake on the Guyandotte River ended up 46 feet above normal pool level. The entire lake surface was covered in a thick layer of debris that took considerable man-hours to clean up. That dam and reservior saved several large towns downstream from certain disaster that morning. Rainfall totals from that night ranged from 6 to 11 inches, which in mountainous terrain can wipe towns off of the map. The small town of Mullens lost nearly every one of its downtown businesses. Many didn't recover. That was a crazy night. Flash floods are nothing to mess with.
While not as spectacular, northern Oklahoma received quite a bit of rain in the Cimarron and Arkansas Rivers in early June. These rivers meet in Keystone Lake about 20 miles west of Tulsa. Due to the flooding rains upstream, the Corps of Engineers released 75,000 cfs from Keystone Dam for about a week. Here are some pics. It's been a while since I've seen this kind of release. I remember once in the 1990s, they had the gates at "free flow.." over 100,000 cfs. The wind was actually blowing water over the dam.:shock:



Just to put this in perspective. Look at the fence rails in the foreground and background. The bottom of that rail on the ramp ends about 7 feet further. It then turns into a sidewalk and fishing area bordered by another rail that goes downstream about 500+ feet and upstream to the rail going up the dam in the foreground. Where I usually stand is about 12 feet beyond that ramp...under 15 feet of water.

You can find more pictures of it here.